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Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Dear Abby"

We planted a week ago and have not been encouraged.

The Sunday morning after we planted was glorious. The tomato plants had lifted their leaves to the heavens and the jalapeno plants already had small blossoms. So we went to church and praised along with them.

Then we came back.

We saw disaster looming -- leaves had wilted, stalks were bending.

Everything seemed to grow worse as the week went on.

We have many friends and family members who garden, so they offered lots of different advice. The trouble that I was having was trying to diagnose exactly what the problem could be so that I would know whose advice to follow.

So today, I made a desperate plea. I don't know "Abby"of "Dear Abby" fame, but I do know Tyler, whom I will henceforth refer to as Dr. Tyler for the care-giving advice he supplied.

Dr. Tyler was originally just playing delivery man. He had a dish we had left at church once and offered to bring it to our house. I accepted and begged my friend, whom I know to be a home gardening semi-expert, to come and look at our deplorable garden during his visit.

(Sorry Dr. Tyler, if "semi-expert" is not correct. Perhaps expert would have proven more accurate?)

When Dr. Tyler arrived at our house, he set my green baking dish on the kitchen counter then headed for the garden. It was as if he could sense the need for his talents...

...or maybe he saw the sad condition of my tomatoes and peppers through the open kitchen blinds.

The doctor squatted down next to the raised vegetable garden and started running his fingers though the dirt to check the moisture. It reminded me of Bill Paxton from Twister picking up the dirt in his hand and letting it fall through the air to watch wind movements.

Instincts. That is what I lack.

Dr. Tyler said the garden looked dry and recommended a change in our watering routine, so tonight we picked up a new sprinkler. No more watering from a hand sprayer.

He also helped us to replant our tomato plants. He said that the stems still looked healthy, so we shouldn't give up hope just yet. (We were ready to buy new plants and start all over again.)

The prognosis was more promising than I had hoped. I figured I would be told to replant and that I was doing several things wrong. I was even ready to start searching for a therapist that could help me with all of my insecurities as a gardener. (I had begun to avoid looking at the garden because of how pathetic it looked.) Instead, we have a new sprinkler and a friendly neighbor to come and advise us as we grow our first crops. The tomatoes and peppers aren't out of the woods yet, but the situation looks much more promising.

Happy Sunday, everyone!



Note: Dr. Tyler is not a real doctor. However, I hear that what he lacks in medical knowledge he makes up for in style and personality.

Second Note: Dr. Tyler will not be referred to as Dr. Tyler outside of this blog. (Sorry, Tyler. Didn't want to get your hopes up, but thanks for the help!)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Leap of Faith

It's done.

The plants are in the ground. All of them. There are no more plants for this season.

We went to the local nursery this morning and picked up the rest of the plants and seeds.

I worked on planting the thyme, oregano, basil, and parsley while Tim added some more dirt to the raised vegetable garden. I also wanted cilantro, but the nursery was out for today.

We did get our jalapeno plants today. They already have some blossoms, too. As of right now, there are little baby jalapenos in my garden. Let's see how many we have a month from now.

We planted two varieties of bell peppers. The "California Wonder" (a green bell pepper) and...

...the "Golden Belle" (a yellow bell pepper.)

For me, the big excitement was the tomatoes. We planted four "Roma" plants. Can you say pico de gallo?

The only thing not pictured are the "Nantes" Carrots and the "Buttercrunch" Lettuce. I planted those as seeds today.

This is me getting ready to water the garden and telling Tim not to take a picture.

Can I just say that two first-born children with strong opinions make interesting spouses. We have a great marriage (dont' get me wrong), but projects like planting highlight how much we both have opinions. For the record, it's usually a tie at the end of the project since we both listen to each other at least half the time.

This is the hanging plant that I picked up at the nursery. The pansies aren't necessary, but they're pretty. So I batted my eyes at Tim and waved some of my "fun" money that I can spend on anything and added the plant to the cart.

In one morning, our backyard has gone from sparse to green and blooming. We've made the leap of faith and spent all of the time and money to get this garden growing. Now, it's time to watch it grow.

Thanks for reading. I'll post more picks about once a week so we can see how things turn out.



Sunday, April 3, 2011

Birth Order

We planted onions, garlic, potatoes, and strawberries four weeks ago.

After 10 days, we had a few onions peeking through. (Look closely. They're there!)

We also had some garlic rising through the surface.

These plants kind of reminded me of the hulk. These big green stems cracking the soil as it rises up.

(Yes, I have a very active imagination. Don't be jealous. It has served me well all these years.)

As of two weeks ago, our box of dirt with tiny green plants actually started to look promising.

Notice Levi patrolling the perimeter. He keeps these plants safe. He knows no fear -- as long as you give him about 20 feet of space.

Anyways, back to the plants!

Currently, we've had obvious luck with onions and garlic.

The onions were first. As the first borns, they are probably bossing around all of the other plants. I know this because I am a first born. I can relate to the pressure the onions feel to demonstrate how plants are supposed to grow.

Then there was the garlic. The garlic was only a few days behind. Adorable with it's bright, waxy green stems. The youngest child (err...plant), the garlic recieved many oo's and ah's.

Unfortunately, though, the garlic has been bumped from the youngest child (plant) spot.

*drumroll, please*

We now have potatoes!

As of today, there are four tiny, cute, leafy green (too many adjectives??) potatoe sprouts coming up. There is a new vegetable joining the garden. If we had showers for baby plants, we would arrange one for our potatoes. However, we are semi-normal people, so I just celebrate on-line.

We have potatoes! We have potatoes! After four weeks, they're not dead! We did something right! We're growing potatoes!

Okay. Enough celebration. Now for the next question: What's with the strawberries? They still haven't sprouted.

Thanks for reading!

As always,